For those who are just starting their journey toward the thought of becoming a “paper-less” office, there are a lot of things to consider. While many may think of scanning documents as a simple process, it can be a challenging effort or become overwhelming if you don’t have a full grasp on what it takes to get that sheet of paper into your computer.
Many businesses begin the document conversion process thinking – “If I scan this file, I will be able to find it later on electronically, thus creating business efficiencies”. Considering the processes to make this happen, they think it is as simple as going to one of the box stores and purchasing a low-cost scanner or even better, just utilizing the MFC that already exists in the office. However, with over 10 Years of experience in helping clients with their document scanning and conversion efforts, suffice it to say that we have seen projects started by in-house teams go less than well.
Please indulge us as we share with you some of the Most Common Mistakes that we have seen businesses make when starting a document scanning effort and provide you with some insights on how you can avoid them:
It is common to not include the entire team in the effort. Make sure the major stakeholders are involved from the infant stages of the project and engage as many non-stakeholders as possible for input and feedback. Understanding often fosters acceptance, thus adding to the effectiveness of the project.
Fear of Change
Too many organizations are close minded when it comes to re-engineering their processes, falling back on the way they’ve done things in the past. The best strategy for helping your staff overcome their fear of change is to get them involved early in the process and let them see the technology run firsthand. Once they understand the technology and how it WILL make their life easier, they’ll recognize the impact it will have on business efficiency and their personal productivity.
Make sure you have the right size tool to do the job.
There are a lot of numbers that get circulated around in scanner spec sheets, but somehow the one that most people seem to pay the most attention to is speed. For most document imaging applications, scanner speed is going to be important to the overall efficiency, but it really is just one of the things you should consider when selecting a document scanner. When you purchase a scanner for your office, you want to make sure you consider the volume of documents that you plan on scanning. In fact, you want to outfit your business with the proper size scanner for your specific needs. Therefore, investing in a properly sized scanner is indeed a great solution that will alleviate a ton of issues later.
To make the right decisions, you’ll need to consider the amount of work that you’re trying to accomplish and make sure that the scanner has not only the appropriate speed capabilities, but also that it handles the daily volume and has the image enhancement technology that the project calls for.
Because there are big price differences between buying a scanner to help address a backfile conversion and a day-forward project, it will often make sense to outsource the high-volume scanning work to a Document Scanning and Conversion Service company. This will enable you to purchase a scanner that will address your ongoing needs and save you thousands of dollars on equipment. At the same time, you’ll also benefit from reduced labor costs by paying a flat price per image instead of paying scanning temps or training your own staff to get up to speed.
Relying on OCR as the main source of document search
It might be more accurate to call refer to this as the “PDF Syndrome.” The full-text PDF has done such a great job of convincing users that any and every document can be found based on the words within the pages that proper indexing has become an oversight for far too many companies. We’ve seen many new technologies for classifying content and automated indexing of scanned pages, but for effective document management, there is not a bigger mistake then relying OCR technology as your only reference point to documents. OCR is a fantastic technology, but it’s not 100% accurate.
When you’re capturing business documents, you need to be sure that you’re able to not only find ONE document that meets your search criteria, but very often you need to find ALL the documents relating to a specific client/customer/patient/transaction. OCR (or Optical Character Recognition) cannot provide you with the accuracy to ensure that this is going to be the case on a consistent basis. Keep in mind that 90% accuracy will only get you 9 out of 10 Digits in a Social Security Number, meaning that you won’t be able to find the right document a fair percentage of the time.
Instead, you must rely on a combination of tools and methods to be sure that you can find the documents that you’re looking for, when you need them. These tried and true methods are the only sure bet to locating documents when you need them later. An even better source is the use of a Document/Information Management System.
Manually keying all index data
The idea of tagging all your documents with index information, or keywords, may seem like a daunting task. If you are scanning medical records, for example, you may want to tag all your files with a name, patient ID Number, Social Security Number, Date of Birth, etc. If you consider the number of keystrokes that it would take to attach this data to all your document, it probably seems like it would take less time to just keep the paper in a folder and not scan it at all. It doesn’t have to be this hard!
Not capturing useful index information
When you start scanning files, it’s critical that you make sure that you attach meaningful data to the documents being scanned! Each time that you start a scanning project, you need to consider the ways that you may want to get back to that file at some time in the future, so be sure to attach data that is going to be relevant both now and in the future.
Not Properly Vetting Your Document Scanning Provider
Not all document scanning service providers are the same. The firm you choose should be a partner, guiding you throughout the entire lifecycle of your scanning needs. Before signing an agreement, make sure to ask plenty of questions about the provider’s services, practices, protocols and past clients.
Setting Up for Success
Document scanning can help your business become more productive and give it a competitive edge. Scanning a large volume of records can be daunting for any business, especially if your company doesn’t have the experience or resources.
Before embarking on your digital transformation journey, take time to plan and understand the numerous factors involved. Avoiding these common document scanning mistakes can help set your business up for success.